In an announcement released today by the team, the Phillies have nominated rookie center fielder Odubel Herrera for Major League Baseball’s 2015 Hank Aaron Award.
Begun in 1999 as part of MLB’s celebration of the 25th anniversary of Aaron breaking Babe Ruth‘s long-standing career home run record, the Aaron Award nominees are voted on each year by fans and media members, and goes to the top overall hitter in each league.
To begin the process, each team selects a nominee, ostensibly the best offensive player from that team during the just concluded season.
This season, the Phillies selection means that the organization believes him to have been the club’s top offensive performer.
Herrera hit for a .297/.344/.418 slash line with 8 homers, 41 RBI, 64 runs scored, 16 steals and a 108 OPS+ mark.
His runs scored, batting average, and on-base percentage led the team. He was 3rd in steals behind the traded Ben Revere, as well as Cesar Hernandez.
With a star-studded list of nominees this year that includes players such as Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, Andrew McCutchen, Buster Posey, Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun, Nolan Arenado, Paul Goldschmidt, Anthony Rizzo, Miguel Cabrera, David Ortiz and more, Herrera has no chance whatsoever to win the honor.
However, simply being nominated as the best offensive player for any Major League team, even the worst team in baseball over the course of this season, is a tremendous accomplishment.
Especially for a Herrera, a player who the Phillies were able to acquire through the Rule 5 Draft process last December 11th from the Texas Rangers.
While Herrera will most certainly not win the Aaron Award for the National League, his outstanding play over the course of 147 games during his rookie campaign has placed the 23-year old native of Venezuela squarely in the middle of the Phillies’ rebuilding plans.